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Virus, Cold & Flu Natural Remedies & Immune System Boosters : Ways to prevent illness & get well faster

beach hammock
We don't feel beautiful or look beautiful at all when we are sick. COVID 19, the flu and RSV are running rampant. There is way too much opportunity to get sick. We must something fast to boost our immune systems.

My daughter's good friend came down with the flu. She is a teacher so she is exposed to many germs that can cause illness.  The CDC says flu season can start as early as October and end as late as May.  That's a long season!

For me, serious prevention and immune system support are the keys to staying healthy and fighting off viruses quickly. There are some items you should keep on hand in case you need to boost up your immune system.

Let's quickly go over the way our immune system works. Then, we can get into the natural immune system boosters.

Our Immune System in a Nutshell

 Our immune system is designed to recognize an invading pathogen and destroy it.  The quick acting innate immune system jumps in first producing more mucus and some inflammation. It is our natural immune system. Its purpose is to prevent infection, eliminate pathogens and stimulate the acquired immune response. You may get a runny nose, have a fever or get a sore throat when the innate immune system is stimulated.

B lymphocytes (B cells) and T lymphocytes (T cells) kick in to work together to recognize, make antibodies for and destroy the invading germ. These cells makeup the acquired immune system or antigen-specific immune response. This acquired part of our immune system develops throughout our lives. The B cells produce the antibodies that recognize the pathogen.  The T cells find the infected cells and destroy them. 

It is interesting that the B cells and T cells are both produced in the bone marrow. The T cells leave bone marrow and migrate to the thymus. The thymus gland is a lymphatic organ which is located in the chest between the lungs. That's where the T in T cells comes from! The thymus gland shrinks as we get older.

Interesting tidbit: the thymus gets its name from thyme because it is shaped like a thyme leaf.

The body continuously generates immune cells. It actually makes more immune cells than we can use. Extra cells die off. Therefore, we don't need to increase production of immune cells. We do need to keep their normal production in good working order.

There are a lot of simple things we can do every day to keep ourselves healthy and keep our immune systems in tip top shape. Some of these things we all know, like washing our hands and getting plenty of sleep. Sleep is soooo important! 

There are other things we can to do stay healthy that we just don't think of, like keeping our handbags clean.  Here is my list of my favorite tips to stay healthy and beautiful! Many of these things will also help you heal faster if you do happen to get sick.

Natural Immune System Boosters  

Fight COVID, Viruses, Colds & Flu 

Here are some easy things you can do to stay healthy and get well faster from viruses including COVID 19, colds and the flu.

Get your Beauty Sleep:

This may be the most important thing you can do for your immune system. Sleep 7-9 hours per night. A tired body is less resistant to illness and a tired body takes longer to fight off an infection.
That is easier said than done for many people. Maybe it's anxiety, ADD, depression, menopause, or a sleep disorder. There are so many causes for insomnia.

How to Sleep Better Tip:

I have recently discovered how effective ASMR is for many people. Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response activates certain areas of the brain resulting in a tingling, deep relaxing feeling that can help you sleep.

That tingling relaxation feeling results from sounds, mesmerizing visuals and touch. It resembles the frisson experience of getting goosebumps from music.  I'm not gonna lie, it's pretty weird when you first start watching ASMR videos. They are long, strange and sometimes boring but they really do cause a relaxing reaction. You have to find your triggers.

Bright colors, hand movements and certain sounds trigger a satisfying tingly static like feeling that starts in your head and zings down your spine creating a mellow relaxed sensation. The sounds include whispering, soft talking, tapping, crinkling, scratching, page turning and typing.

Not everyone experiences it. Those that don't experience the tingle usually find the videos soothing and relaxing anyway. I personally experience tactile ASMR during a massage, a haircut or from a wire head massager. Which makes a fabulous stocking stuffer! A super amplified crinkly sound can tingle me too.
wire head massager

I have received emails regarding my garden videosI inadvertently used ASMR. People tell me they watch them to relax and fall asleep. Now I know I should accentuate sound for my ASMR people. I have created a full blown ASMR Holiday Sounds Video for you. Try it. You just might find your ASMR triggers and sleep better! Wear headphones to enhance your experience.

Christmas ASMR Video to help you relax and sleep!

asmr video

So, does ASMR boost your immune system? 

It does if it helps you sleep better because sleep boosts your immune system!

Foods and Nutrients:

People swear by Airborne. It's an immune support supplement full of vitamins, minerals and herbs to help strengthen your immune system.  
airborne immune support
Chew 1-4 tablets at a time. You can take it 3 times per day. It really seems to help the immune system fight off illnesses. It's especially good to use before you travel in a plane.

Vitamin C
I swear by Vitamin C! Vitamin C supports the immune system allowing you to fight off colds and flus better. 

It helps keep you looking younger, by the way! The body uses Vitamin C to build collagen which keeps our skin firm and young looking.  

Vitamin C is found in fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, sweet green peppers, strawberries, citrus fruits and in supplement form. The RDA for women is 75 mg and 90 mg for men. Taking up to 1000mg per day is considered safe.

Vitamin D
Vitamin is another immune system enhancing vitamin. Plus, it can help reduce the spread of some viruses. It's also good for bone health. Research suggests activates T cells for fighting cancer and preventing respiratory infections in older adults.

The skin synthesizes Vitamin D from the sun. Many people are deficient in Vitamin D, maybe because of the high use of sunscreen to protect our skin from skin cancer and UV damage. The vitamin D council tells us a person with medium toned light-colored skin only needs about 15 minutes of strong direct sun light exposure over a large portion of skin daily. The darker the skin, the longer the sun exposure time is to get the good dose.

Plus, researchers have found that blue light from the sun causes the T cells to move faster which may help them reach an infection faster. 

There are only a few good food sources. Good food sources of Vitamin D include oily fish, egg yolks, and fortified foods such as various milks, oranges juice and cereals. You can also take Vitamin D supplements. The recommended daily allowance is 600 IU for ages 1-70. 800 IU for those over 70.

A blood test will determine your Vitamin D level.

Studies have shown that zinc lozenges, such as cold-EEZE can shorten a cold virus when taken at the first signs of a cold.
cold-ezze zinc lozenges
Some scientists believe the zinc ions released from the lozenge interfere with the virus's ability to replicate.

Green Tea
This is another remedy I swear by! Green tea contains a powerful anti-oxidant called Epigallo Catechin  (EGCG).  This anti-oxidant fights free radicals, fights the adenovirus (a cold virus), repairs DNA, inhibits the growth of cancer cells, increases metabolism and is anti-inflammatory. Black tea and white are beneficial as well. 

Matcha green tea is a powdered form of green tea. It's a super concentrated anti-oxidant powerhouse! It's a lovely shade of green and can be mixed with water and used as a tea or used as an ingredient in recipes. 1 glass of matcha tea equals 10 glasses of regular green tea. That will fire up the old immune system!!!
Eat more Fruits and Veggies
Increase the number of colorful fruits and veggies that you eat. Fruits and vegetables are high in those magical defensive anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins. These plant chemicals help you fight off viruses and keep the body strong and healthy. I believe in my high anti-oxidant vegetarian diet!

Eat Yogurt. The probiotics yogurt contains can help boost the activity of immune system cells helping you fight viruses. Just buy yogurts that are lower in sugar. Chobani make a delicious less sugar Greek yogurt with only 9 grams of sugar per 5.3 oz. serving as opposed to 17 grams+ in regular Greek yogurts. 

Use a lot of garlic in your cooking!!!

Garlic contains compounds including allicin and diallyl sulphides to help fight viruses. Crush or chop your garlic and allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes to trigger an enzyme reaction that boosts the compounds. 

I make a minestrone soup full of garlic, basil and oregano at the first sign of feeling under the weather. Oregano is also known for its immune system boosting anti-oxidants.

Minestrone is the medicine at my house!

Drink water. A hydrated body is better at fighting off illness than a dehydrated body. Drink 6 to 8 glasses per day. A motivational water bottle may help you get all those ounces in.

motivational water bottle

Limit Alcohol
Reduce your alcohol consumption. Too much alcohol can reduce your white blood cells' ability to fight viruses for up to 24 hours. 1 drink per day for women. 2 drinks per day for men.

Don't Touch It!:
Hands off the Face
Avoid touching your face. Cold and flu viruses could be on your hands just waiting to infect you through your mouth, nose and eyes. Don't bite your nails. Germs may be lurking under your nails.

Proper Hand Washing
Wash your hands frequently throughout the day. Suds up with soap and warm water for 20-30 seconds and rinse well. Sing the ABC's song to make sure you are washing long enough! 🎶 A regular soap, not antibacterial, will do the job without creating resistant bacterial bugs. Always apply hand lotion after washing to help prevent the skin from becoming dry and dehydrated.

Use Hand Sanitizer
Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and alcohol based wipes if you are in a place where you can't wash your hands. Many hand sanitizers contain moisturizing ingredients to reduce the drying effects of using alcohol on your skin.

Wipe it down
Take advantage of the wipes many stores provide. Wipe your shopping cart handle with a wipe at the grocery store.  Use alcohol-based wipes on doors and plumbing handles in public bathrooms. Use a paper towel to protect your hand when opening the door to exit the public bathroom. Wipe down the keyboard of a shared computer at work and the phone that is shared at work before you use it. Keep a pack of wipes handy in your car and in your handbag. Speaking of your handbag...

NEATwipes are cruelty free and biodegradable! 

Clean your Handbag
We set our handbags down everywhere. I don't even want to think about what germs are on them! Carry a handbag that is made of a material that you can wipe down frequently with an alcohol-based wipe or is washable.

Machine wash your washable cloth handbags frequently. This cute machine washable Vera Bradley Bag comes in 10 patterns. Some of them are made with recycled cotton.
Vera Bradley Bag
Whatever you do, don't put your handbag down on the floor of a public bathroom!!!😬

Clean your Phone
Keep your cell phone clean with alcohol-based wipes. We set them down everywhere like we do with our handbags. They can be full of germs and then we touch them.

Use your Elbows!
Use your elbows to push elevator buttons, automatic door opening buttons, etc. 

Body Care:
Epsom Salt
Take a warm Epsom salt bath at the first sign of illness. It will dilate the blood vessels and boost circulation, decrease cold and flu symptoms and promote quicker healing. Epsom Salt, which is Magnesium Sulfate, eases muscle aches, detoxifies the body and actually raises white blood cell counts. 
Dr Teals Epsom Salt
Dissolve 2 cups of Epsom Salt in a warm bath. Relax and soak for 20 minutes. Dr Teal's Epsom Salt is a great cruelty-free brand. The Lavender scented version is excellent before bed to help you sleep.

Get a Massage
A study done at the Cedar-Sinai Medical Center showed that a 45-minute Swedish massage significantly boosted levels NK cells and T lymphocytes, which are virus fighters, in the blood. 

Certain plants contain very powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral chemical compounds. Essential oil is derived from plants and has been used since ancient times to heal and prevent disease. Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils for relaxation and health benefits. 

Many oils have high anti-viral and anti-bacterial  properties. Geranium, lavender, rosemary, peppermint, lemon, cinnamon, ginger, clove, basil, thyme, oregano, tea tree, ravensara, frankincense, and eucalyptus are a few good ones.  

Youngliving has a well-known anti-microbial essential oil blend called Thieves. It contains a blend of the essential oils clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and rosemary. So why is it called Thieves?

The story behind it goes like this: back in the 15 century when the plague was taking lives, a group of thieves would rub oils on themselves to protect themselves from getting sick as they robbed the dead and dying. They were caught and gave up their formula when they were caught in exchange for a more lenient punishment. 

How to Use Essential Oils

The Thieves essential oil blend has been shown to kill bacteria and viruses. You don't take it internally, but you apply it to your skin, particularly, the bottoms of your feet. This is a very powerful oil that must be diluted in a carrier oil such as olive oil, almond oil or jojoba oil.  Only 1 drop of Thieves should be added to 15 drops of the carrier oil. 

Youngliving Thieves

Shop for Thieves in Amazon!

Youngliving has even created Thieves cleaning products to help keep your home germ free.

Youngliving thieves household cleaner

Shop for Thieves Household Cleaner on Amazon!

Almost every essential oil used straight out of the bottle is too strong. Always mix them in a carrier oil. Mix 5 drops of a single essential oil into 1 tablespoon of oil. Avocado and sunflower oils are more nice oils to use as carrier oils. Massage the oil mixture on your skin to get the healthy benefit from the essential oils.

Essential oils can also be mixed with distilled water and diffused into the air using a cold-air essential oil diffuser. A diffuser creates a fine mist of essential oils in the air that can help kill germs and remove air born germs by making the fall to the ground. 

Essential oils can be mixed with distilled water and sprayed into the air using a spray bottle as well.

Never diffuse or spray essential oils if you have cats and never apply essential oil to a cat. 

Cats are unable to metabolize essential oils. Diffused, sprayed or applied essential oils will build up in a cat's body and become toxic. A cat can die due to the toxic build up.

You can find essential oils at health food stores, some drugs stores and Amazon.

Use a Humidifier  
Moist air affects how viruses linger in the air. Dry air allows them to float around, while moist air makes them heavy and fall to the ground or floor faster. Moist air, above 40% humidity, also helps to deactivate virus particles.

A humidifier moistens our noses and airways to help keep them clear. Our skin also benefits by staying more moisturized in higher humidity.
cool mist humidifier

Try meditation to reduce stress hormones and strengthen your immune system. Meditation has always been a challenge for my busy brain! Guided sound meditation does work for me, though. It gives my busy brain sound to focus on. I find it very relaxing. 

Here is a site to help get you started with 6 steps on how to meditate. 

Exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day to boost your immune system. Exercise increases blood circulation which keeps the germ fighting immune system cells flowing efficiently through the body. Another challenge for me! Try walking. It's an easy, low impact way to get some exercise.

Well, there you have it. My best boosting tips. I hope they help you stay beautiful and healthy through cold and flu season and all year long!

       Have a Safe & Healthy Day! 
Licensed Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Makeup Artist
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